Last week, a part of my story had to do with how unreliable my car was (Stories of the Road, Part 4). Here’s another. My wife and I had been having car problems off and on a few years ago. The car would simply stall out and take several minutes, or hours, to start up again. This particular stall happened at the worst possible time, lunch time. We were heading to pick up some summer baseball volunteer coaches in Bishkek. We were turning left on a very busy intersection of the city when the car’s engine stopped in the center of the intersection. I looked at my wife and she gave me the same look I gave her. Our faces yelled “GREAT! NOT AGAIN.” In less than 15 seconds, I hopped out of the car and my wife jumped in the drivers’ seat while I prepped myself to push the car out of the intersection. Cars honked all around as I put all my strength into pushing the car off to the side of the road. Luckily, there was an empty spot to park right off the intersection. I called some of the baseball coaches to tell them that we stalled out. They offered to help push the car to a shop. I said yes and they were on their way.
When they arrived we planned out where to push the car. I got into the driver’s seat and we were on our way. There were 5 guys helping me out. Three guys pushing from behind, and two other men pushing from each window. They pushed one block with hardly any effort. I turned to the right so we could coast our way down 4 blocks to a shop. We made our way one block and passed through an intersection with a green light, thank goodness. I imagined how we looked, five guys pushing a car in the busy city streets of Bishkek. People starred, others laughed, and we were having a blast pretending to drive like the Flintstones. After two blocks, the car gained a good amount of momentum and I was coasting faster than the guys could run. Soon, I saw all the guys running after me in my rear view mirror as I soared down the street. The car slowed to a stop. It took the guys a couple minutes to catch up to me, laughing hysterically as they approached my VW Golf. After a few moments of joking and catching our breath, we pushed the car to the shop one block further. What a day.